In a contest that went down to the wire the Victoria University team has been awarded third place at the US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, just a few points behind the winner.
The Meridian First Light house ended with a total of 919 points in the competition against 19 university teams from around the world. Team member Nick Officer says, “While we may not have won overall we are incredibly proud to have represented New Zealand on the world stage. We had such and amazing response from the US public here along with supporters back home.”
The Solar Decathlon challenges the teams to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive. The competition is made up of 10 contests which challenge teams in a number of different areas including energy balance, home entertainment, architecture and engineering. The Victoria University team had high scores in many of the contests, winning the Engineering contest, gaining first equal in Hot Water and Energy Balance, second for Architecture and third for Market Appeal.
The Meridian First Light house managed to produce more energy than it consumed over the competition period achieving net zero energy consumption, despite 10 days of undesirable weather.
LEAP Australasia Ltd who supplied all the water systems to the Meridian First Light house, say they are thrilled with the result for the team. Managing Director Jay Wester says that the hot water design worked perfectly enabling the team to score a 1st equal place in the Hot Water section. “Our New Zealand technologies have been taken to Washington and it has been proven they are equal to those available worldwide”, says Wester. “This is a great result”. LEAP’s water heating system comprising a Solargenius solar water heating system and a Thermagenius heat pump water heating system more than provided hot water for the house in a timely fashion, even through a number of overcast and rainy days. LEAP also supplied fire sprinklers, the plumbing system and an innovative hot water drying cupboard powered by the excess hot water produced by the Solargenius system.